It’s been a long running joke that pastors only work on Sunday mornings when they’re leading worship. I’ve had many people genuinely wonder what kinds of things I work on in the midst of a week. So here you go…a week in my life as a pastor. And remember, one of the neat things about being a pastor is how different the work can be. So this is very unique to ministry in my life. Ask any other pastor, and their life may look pretty different.
Up at 6:30am to feed Wesley, eat breakfast and get kids dressed. I wish I had time to go through my message one more time, but since we’ve had kids, I don’t get quiet Sunday morning rehearsal time anymore. I head into church to help get the space ready to welcome everyone. I greet everyone who’s also there working hard to create sacred moments for people in worship. Sunday mornings are a beautiful, exhausting blur. Lots of conversation with wonderful people. I always wish I could slow time down on Sundays so I could hear more stories from people. This is often the best time I have to hear how people are doing. In the midst of connecting with people’s deep needs, I’m also available for administrative and ministry questions. Plus being mom and keeping an eye on my kids. Plus giving my whole spirit and soul to the preaching moment. I’m a special kind of tired on Sunday afternoons. So I usually don’t schedule anything after worship. Good Sabbath time with family while we recover.
By late Sunday afternoon, my mind and heart start moving towards the scripture for the next week and I get a giddy thrill when I think about getting to prepare another message. I’m thankful for this weekly affirmation that I’m in the right job!
This week I got up at 5:30 for an early hour of what I call my “creative magic time.” I’m a morning person so I feel most alive, energetic and productive in the morning. Working on our stewardship theme and mailing this week. I got more quality work done in that one hour than I could at 3 in the afternoon. It’s worth going to bed a little early to have the hour when I’m at my best.
I took my daughter to preschool and checked in with a staff member. I made sure our office volunteer knew what I was up to for the day and then headed over to the library for a retreat morning. My work on our October stewardship sermon series continued. I love working at the library. It’s nice to be around other people and start to see some regulars. I plug in my headphones, sit by the big windows filled with trees and light streaming in. And sermons just seem to flow a bit easier here. It’s one of my happy writing places.
Home for lunch with family so I can feed Wesley. Then it’s back to the office for an administrative afternoon. Signing payroll, helping with people who come in, answering email, communicating with staff about the week ahead and working with committee chairs on upcoming tasks. I’m usually home by 4 to play with the kids so my husband can have a little break before dinner, more playtime and then bed. I check my email once more in the evening and check in on our online Bible study groups, but otherwise, I try not to work. The time with family is priority
Up again early for some creative magic time. I love these quiet moments with God, before the rest of the house wakes up. It’s sacred. I can’t stay focused and grounded for this work of ministry to others if I’m not deeply connected with God myself. I’ve tried it before and it’s not pretty. Sometimes I feel selfish building in the time for devotion because there’s always more I could cross off the to-do list. Such an American value. That a pastor would feel their time with God is less important than getting stuff done. But I keep learning that the more connected I am to my spirituality, the more effective our church will be. So I’m always working on keeping it at the center. It’s surprising how easy it is to only read the Bible for a message, and not for myself.
I met with a church member who works at the high school. Learning about how he’s been a part of helping kids after the school shooting last year. What a joy to walk around campus with him while student after student called out his name and said hi. Those kids love him. It reminded me of the beautiful lives our church people get to be a part of each week. When I see them once a week in the same setting, I don’t know the impact they have in the rest of their life.
Back to the office to get a meeting scheduled to bring together a lot of people to work on our guest experience. How can we make it easier for people to enter into the life of the church? What obstacles are there and where is it unclear what to do or who to talk to? I love these conversations and learning from our new families will be invaluable.
Then a meeting with our finance and stewardship chairperson. I shared a video I made and some ideas and he shared what he was working on. It’s coming together! Such a fun feeling to see the Holy Spirit connect themes and ideas. We’re working hard to help our church see what we could do if more people filled out a pledge card this year. There are some exciting things on the horizon but we can’t staff for it unless we give big. Stewardship month is a mixed bag in the church. Some people stay away because it’s all this talk about money. But for me, the way I think about money has everything to do with my spirituality. I’ve grown so much in my faith journey when I’ve given more of my resources away. I’ve never missed the money. And God keeps teaching me that I have enough. I’m amazed at what gets done through the money I give away. It’s almost addicting. Ask my husband. I love giving our money away now.
Home for family time. Took the kids to see the sunset near the marina in Everett. I don’t get to spend all day every day with my young kids. But when I’m with them, I try to be fully present to them. I hope their childhood is full of great memories with Mom, even though she worked full time.